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Dr. Jonathan Withey, dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, in front of one of the chemistry labs at Mount Royal University

Dr. Jonathan Withey, dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, in front of one of the chemistry labs at Mount Royal University.
Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.

Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.

Great chemistry involves creating the perfect mix.

All puns aside, the new bachelor of science program with a major in chemistry at Mount Royal University is just that — it offers hands-on, real-world learning taught by professors in small enough classes that they know the names of all their students.

The new chemistry major program capitalizes on Mount Royal’s state-of-the- art science facilities that opened just a few years ago, says Dr. Jonathan Withey, dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at MRU.

“This program is further development of our innovative curriculum, and that is an essential part of leadership,” Withey says.

“We’re advancing Mount Royal University’s programs and, in doing so, we’re further defining and articulating the role we play in Alberta’s future.”

The post-secondary institution has a history of shaping education in the province that stretches back decades. 

A degree-granting institution since 2007, MRU has garnered a reputation for offering an exceptional, student-centred education informed by research and experiential learning.

That is no exception with the new chemistry program, which will enroll 140 students when fully operational.

“For us, chemistry was something that was conspicuously absent from our repertoire of degree programs,” Withey says. “But we always were aware of a lot of student interest.”

Interest, indeed: The university program filled quickly for the fall. Little wonder, given the excellent facilities and people.

“MRU is a great place to learn science,” Withey says.

But that fact is not as well-known as it should be, even among new students, he says.

“A lot of the students coming here are not aware of the first-class facilities that we offer to support the delivery of an excellent education in science.”

Well-known for its innovative degrees, ranging from environmental science to computer information systems, all science programs provide students with enriching learning experiences, he says.

“A core focus with research is the engagement of undergraduate students early in their degrees. We are constantly searching for ways to enhance the student experience.”

That’s certainly a hallmark of the new chemistry degree program.

Consider that MRU is already deeply committed to outreach and to boosting interest in the power and potential of chemistry to change lives and shape the future.

Besides a long-standing relationship with the ExploreSTEM program that seeks to boost interest among Grade 9 girls in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, MRU also runs the Indigenous Science Speaker Series.

And this September, during Science Literacy Week, the university will partner with Beakerhead — Calgary’s five-day science spectacle.

Showcasing how science, art and technology mesh together to create new ideas and transform the world for the better, MRU’s involvement is a natural extension of its leadership in education, which focuses on learning outside the ivory towers of academia.

“In terms of the chemistry major specifically, a critical element is its community service learning,” Withey says.

“That really means helping students apply their education to real-world issues through partnerships with community stake- holders.”

To that end, students entering their second year will start work on projects with a community-based organization.

“This connects our students with industry partners and other organizations to help solve practical problems.”

It’s this kind of learning that helps MRU students go on to study in graduate programs, or to take up employment in fields relevant to their training and where they continue to contribute to the community.

“Our hope is that students will be surprised by how authentic their learning experiences are,” Withey adds.

“I think this new degree shows how we refuse to rest on our achievements and how we are committed to ensuring students who choose Mount Royal are set up for success today, tomorrow and for years to come.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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